I've learned this myself the hard way and continue to tell others this when I see them going down the same road I did... Don't ignore your body!
Our body speaks to us all the time letting us know when we are mistreating it, whether it's physically (pushing ourselves too hard with physical labor be it at the gym, at work, or at home), or mentally, or and for the sake of this post, with our diets (food allergies). When you eat something that you are allergic to and ignore the symptoms; stomach pains, intestinal issues, ear aches, headaches, hives, swelling... you are damaging your digestive system and ultimately your immune system.
I've mentioned this in earlier posts, how (from my own personal experience) ignoring symptoms of a dairy allergy affected me and my body's ability to properly digest other foods, resulting in (in my opinion) my food allergy to soy, along with a handful of other health issues most of which I have since fixed.
I bring this topic up again because of a question a fellow co-worker asked me today. She informed me of an allergic reaction she had over the weekend to something she ate, and also mentioned that she feels she has become allergic to more and more foods over the past few years; she blames it on "getting older", I disagree. I reminded her of a few other food allergies that she has had for some time now (chocolate and cherries to name a few) that she continues to consume and continues to ignore her body's cry for help. She will eat the chocolate and complain about the headaches that always follow or the cherries and comment on the numbness/pins-and-needles feeling in the tongue and lips, but doesn't seem to realize that these seemingly insignificant reactions are the body's way of trying to alarm her to a much more serious issue going on inside her.
When our bodies cannot break down the proteins within a food, it causes poorly digested food to enter the small intestine. These undigested food particles collect along the intestinal wall, damaging the lining and allowing some of these undigested food molecules to enter the bloodstream where they are perceived as being foreign bodies attacking the body. This is what triggers histamines to be released causing the inflammatory response we all know as itching, swelling, pain...
Unfortunately most people think that if the allergic reaction isn't anaphylactic shock it's no big deal, and that's where we are so wrong. It's not just the undigested food molecules that escape into the bloodstream that we need to worry about, but the effects it has as well as those that collect on the inner lining of the intestinal wall, have on our immune system. Once the integrity of the intestinal wall is compromised it's like we've opened Pandora's Box, allowing parasites and unwanted bacteria to thrive which can only lead to bad news.
It has been documented that food allergies are the cause of many of the chronic health issues so many people are living with and this include a hyper sensitivity to other foods. It's a snowball effect that inevitably makes us susceptible to many diseases and illnesses.
So we can choose to address a food allergy with the urgency it requires, or ignore it and deal with the debilitating and eventually lethal effect it has on our body.